Brown-hooded Kingfisher


U sually found in pairs inhabiting riverine vegetation, hut also some distance away from water in open woodland and in gardens. Their calls consist of a melodious "choo, choo, choo, choo, choo" often in the form of a duet and accompanied hy the birds flitting their wings. The call is repeated rapidly when disturbed. The pair also make soft twittering calls to each other when the mate is not in sight.Males are brighter in colour than females.

Their aviary should he landscaped for an open woodland situation including a pool of water into which they can dive to hath. A few dead branches and upright tree stumps will provide ideal hunting perches. As they naturally occur in warm climates, in countries where temperatures remain below 12° C (54° F.) for extended periods, particularly if cold and wet, adequate shelter must be available. In temperatures near freezing, an additional source of heat should be provided. Brown-hooded are a woodland species and are not fishers. They will sit motionless on an exposed branch for long periods, interrupted only by the occasional bob of the head as they watch for prey below. The prey is caught in a straight glide from the perch.

They are extremely aggressive when breeding and I have had a Beeeater knocked off my hand and killed instantly by this species. I have, however, kept them with Pied Kingfishers with no problems. This was due in part to the different food sources used by the two species, and because the Pied were too young to compete for nest sites. Brown-hooded and all


woodland kingfishers are best housed with birds of the same or a larger size than themselves for example Tockus hornbills, shrikes, starlings, and weavers.


They should he fed on a diet of 40% ox heart strips and 30% chicken strips with a multi-vitamin powder added to both of these once per day, and the remaining 30% of the diet consisting of live food such as rnealworms, waxrnoth larvae, winged termites, grasshoppers, locusts, praying mantis, millipedes, crickets, and pinkie mice. If a small fish is stuck in very shallow water they will take it and will also take small dead fish fed hy hand, hut they do not dive into deep water after fish. Out of the breeding season they are fed once per day hut this should he increased to twice per day in the pre-breeding season period and three times per day while breeding, They will always take the livefood first and when renewing food a small quantity of substitute meat should always he left from the previous feed. All livefood (even if dead), and very often the meat strips as well, will he hashed against a branch to "kill" and pulverize them.


A Brown-hooded pair will excavate their own nest into a sandbank. A sandbank is easily constructed by building a vertical face of boards and then piling the sand mixture up behind these. Plant the top of the bank with a shallow rooted creeping plant which will assist to hold the sand in place. Water lightly on a regular basis and after eight weeks the wooden face can


he removed to expose the sandbank. Unfortunately this species becomes rather aggressive during the breeding season and should he carefully observed in case they pick on any other birds, The tunnel is approximately 70 - 90 cm (27-35 inches) long with a nest chamber at one end. Both sexes incubate the 4-6 eggs. The removal of a clutch of young will stimulate the pair to produce a second clutch. The hand raised chicks must never he reintroduced into the parents aviary as they will he attacked immediately. Should successful breeding occur, the chicks must he removed when independent.

Hand Rearing

All species of woodland kingfishers can he hand raised on a diet of 50% ox heart strips dipped in commercial rearing food with a multi-vitamin and calcium supplement added once a day. The remainder of the diet should consist of insects as described under the captive diet, with the addition of pinkie mice and rats, the latter being cut in half.


Small lizards are a real treat for the chicks and are devoured whole. They are fed hourly initially and two hourly once half feathered. Warmth is supplied to the point where the chicks are two thirds feathered at which stage they will he comfortable at a room temperature of 24° C. (75° F.).

All food is fed with a forceps tweezers and they will usually take three food items per feed. Be careful when feeding the enthusiastic chicks that they do not jump forwards and damage their throat on the tweezers. The chicks are able to swallow quite large pieces of food. While their eyes are still closed the food is touched on the side of the gape, and the chick will immediately seize the food. Chicks become agitated and aggressive when food is presented, but I have not found it necessary to separate them. They are extremely vocal when hungry. The chicks are kept on sawdust, which due to their pungent droppings and regurgitated pellets of exoskeletons, fur and hones, is changed on a daily basis.

Ring Size: 4,5 mm ~